howtheduck (howtheduck) wrote in binky_betsy,

Thursday, 14 November 2019

And now for Exercises in Dog Torture featuring Elizabeth and Farley
(Original Publication Date, 15 November 1990)

Panel 1: The is the first of two panels of joke setup filled full of words.  In the meantime, Lynn Johnston is tested to see if she can draw the same picture two panels in a row.  While not exact, this is actually pretty close for Lynn.  The stripe count for the 3rd set of stripes on the arm of the couch changes.  Elizabeth loses an ear.   By Lynn Johnston’s art standards, that’s very good.   Whenever you see this kind of repetition in this comic strip, you know Lynn Johnston is about to turn in some of her worst and laziest work.  The only thing Lynn Johnston does as badly as political messages is social parody. 

Professor Bolus – From the Wikipedia - In medicine, a bolus is the administration of a discrete amount of medication, drug, or other compound within a specific time, generally within 1 - 30 minutes. 

Sounds like Lynn is doing her thing of reusing medical terms for doctor names, as in Dr. Fundus D. Sphyncter from a few months ago:

What kind of message would you send to an anti-social cartoonist who spent her days locked in her studio and whose eating habits consisted primarily of beer and snacks when no one else was around?   It might be something like this:

“Eating is more than just a necessity for survival.  It’s a socially significant activity; a time for expression and interaction.” 

While Lynn Johnston is probably parodying some kind of social trend of the 1990s, she may have also been mocking the advice people were giving her in real life.

Panel 2:  In this panel, the idea shifts from eating as social interaction to food presentation.   Serving food creatively sounds like Lynn Johnston is doing a parody of the professional culinary trend of the late 1980s - Nouvelle Cuisine.  This trend reduced the portion sizes in restaurants and instead concentrated on creating neatly presented food.   This parody doesn’t really work because what Elizabeth does in the next panel is not even closely related to Nouvelle Cuisine.  Now, if she had Elizabeth stack Farley’s food into a tower and put a colourful garnish on it, that would be closer to putting her parody across. 

Panel 3: Lynn takes it to the familiar territory of dog torture as Elizabeth interprets the TV recommendation by blindfolding Farley and then pulling his food in his dish away from him by tying his dog dish on a string.  If Farley is blindfolded, then why use the string?  Why not use your hands? Is the purpose behind the string so blindfolded Farley can’t see what is moving the dog dish?  How does that make sense?   Is the blindfold used to see if Farley can follow the scent of the dogfood?  Is the blindfold going to improve Farley’s social interaction?  My guess is the blindfold was supposed to relate to the “experiment” aspect of the TV dialogue.  Lynn did a similar story back in April this year, except it was with Michael torturing Farley and the only difference is the blindfold.   This is less funny and more, “Elizabeth is a weird girl with a very patient dog.”

Summary: This interlude comes out of nowhere and is not even remotely related to the Michael love letter storyline.  I guess back in November, 1990, Lynn Johnston must have realized she needed a fill-in to take that story up to a full week. Tomorrow we will be back to it.

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